By now it's tradition: Every 4th of July weekend in New Orleans means one thing, Essence Festival. The iconic magazine for (and by) black women sets up show in NOLA for a long weekend full of events, empowerment talks and of course lots of concerts. Artists from all over the world head to the Crescent City for the fest.
It's important not to forget, however, that New Orleans is home to countless musicians, born and raised right here. From huge names like Lil Wayne and the late Louis Armstrong, to local brassbands who play street corners and local spots in the Frenchmen Street area. One such artist reps NOLA like no other; Fuse's very own star Big Freedia. Late last night, after Essence had said goodnight, Freedia and a few other New Orleans bounce acts tore down local venue Republic. Freedia and her friends reminded everybody what authentic New Orleans love and energy feels like.
From start to finish, the night was like one huge party. A celebration of love, music, and of course, ass shaking! First up were rousing sets from local bounce stars like 5th Ward Weebie, Ms. Tee and Partners N Crime. They of course killed it and set the stage for the Queen of Bounce herself, Big Freedia.
Freedia didn't hit the stage until about 1:30am, but the hyped-up crowd, filled with both NOLA locals and visitors from across the country, wasn't going anywhere. Freedia fans already knew it, but newcomers were about to find out that it was well-worth the wait.
Freedia ran through a generous mix of all her biggest hits, from "Excuse" to "Y'all Get Back Now" and more. Alongside her longtime dancers Skip, Tootie, Steph, and ReRE, the Queen Diva even twerked to bounce remixes of Drake's "One Dance" and Adele's "Hello." Yes, let me repeat that: There was a bounce remix of Adele's "Hello," and it was everything!
As she does at most of her shows, Big Freedia commanded the fans who wanted to twerk to take to the stage and shake their ass like their lives depended on it. The Queen's loyal subjects didn't need to be told twice. As Freedia's trademark song "Ass Everywhere" played, the stage was literally filled with bouncing asses of every size, shape and color. It was incredible and the energy was contagious as fans still on the floor and in the rafters were shaking their asses, too.
The always gracious Freedia closed the night by thanking her team of dancers, her DJ Juan, the venue Republic, her Fuse fam, and of course all the loyal fans who came out and showed out, not just for Freedia, but for bounce music and New Orleans. Essence Fest seems like it takes over New Orleans, but Big Freedia and numerous other NOLA artists will quickly remind you it doesn't have to be Essence weekend for them to shut down the club, the street, or any stage they touch.
Fuse's Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce is new every Wednesday at 11/10c. Watch the explosive trailer for the new season below: